25 January 2016
The Cape Town Big 7 features some of the biggest attractions in the city – and are must-do destinations for locals and visitors. They're also listed stops on our red bus tours – making it a hop on, hop off away from ticking each experience off your bucket list.
Stop 1 and home to a red bus tour office (just outside the Two Oceans Aquarium), the V&A Waterfront is a hive of activity, especially during the summer months. Grab a bite to eat while looking at the harbour, enjoy a free performance at the amphitheatre, go shopping at one of their 450 stores or treat the kids to a Cape Wheel ride. For the young and the young at heart, there is no shortage of things to do here.
We recommend: get here early and park your car, have a delicious breakfast at one of the many eateries, grab a few snacks for the road and hop on a red bus to explore the rest of the city. You can also hop on a boat with our Harbour Cruise – a chance to see the basins of the Waterfront from a different perspective, and with commentary.
One of our most frequently asked questions is, "Do you go to Robben Island?" Quite simply: we don't, we're a bus service. That said, the Clock Tower is stop 2 and where you'll hop off for the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. Here, you book your tickets and take a short ferry ride to the World Heritage Site. The three-and-a-half-hour tour of the island is worth every minute – you'll engage with an ex-political prisoner, walk in the footsteps of the late former president Nelson Mandela and enjoy a bus tour of the island itself.
We recommend: if you've parked at the V&A Waterfront, you can walk to the Clock Tower and hop on a red bus when you've returned from your Robben Island visit to enjoy many more stops.
Table Mountain Cableway
The Cableway has topped many "best of" lists – both locally and globally – and with good reason. Visitors enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view as they go up and down in the cable car, can explore the mountaintop with a free guided tour and tuck in to a delicious meal at the café. Of course, the list of things to do at stop 7 doesn't end there – from kids to photographers, the Table Mountain Cableway caters to all.
We recommend: skip the ticket queue at the Cableway – purchase your cable car tickets from our tour offices or from a bus driver between stops 1 and 6.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
A favourite among families and concert-goers, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (stop 20) spans nearly 530 hectares. Walk among South Africa's indigenous plants, take in the scents of the diverse fynbos flora, spot our national flower – the Protea – and explore the themed gardens. The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway (informally known as the "Boomslang") has become a popular feature at the garden – the bridge takes visitors through and over trees, touching the forest floor twice.
We recommend: lunch with a view of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain at the Moyo Kirstenbosch. Plus, spend over R100 and you'll get 10% off your meal when you present your red bus ticket.
Hop on our Wine Tour to visit Groot Constantia
Famous for its Sauvignon Blanc and South Africa's oldest wine farm, Groot Constantia (stop 25) is located in the heart of the Constantia Wine Route. Rich in history, visitors to the estate are in for a treat with its wondrous views of the valley and vineyards. Enjoy a wine tasting, go on a cellar tour, explore the farm's vast grounds or sit down for panaromic lunch views at Jonkerhuis.
We recommend: with Valentine's Day around the corner, catch the Wine Tour and hop off at Groot Constantia for a wine and chocolate pairing. Extend your stay with a delicious picnic from Simon's Deli, or pack your own and enjoy your spread on the lawns.
Known as the most south-western tip of Africa, Cape Point is where the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian) meet. The 150-year-old lighthouse is an attraction in itself and worth a visit when you can take the Flying Dutchman funicular. Look out for the shipwrecks surrounding the coastline, do some bird or game watching, take a walk through the nature reserve or go fishing – you could spend a day or two here with the long list of activities available.
We recommend: Hop on the The Cape Explorer: Cape Point Tour fully guided (in English) day excursion to Cape Point in a luxury air-conditioned coach AND you get to see the penguins with a stop at Boulders Beach.
Much like our FREE City Sightseeing walking tours, the City Walk is a great way to see the city on foot. It's a chance to marvel at the old architecture, engage with the public spaces and art, learn about the history of the CBD and gain some insight into the present. City Walk Saturdays takes place every third Saturday of the month and comes alive with entertainment, street art, gamers and more.
We recommend: hop off at stop 5 (81 Long Street), grab an iced latte or tea from You and Yours and make your way to the Taj for the City Walk. If you spot a red bus stop along the way, you can hop right back on.